Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cheddar and Apple Paste

This pairing might just be my new fall favorite: Quickes Farmhouse Cheddar and Mitica Apple Paste. I sampled the two together at yesterday's Cheese, Apples, and Ale tasting. Gorgeous. Imagine earthy autumn smells, plus the cidery taste of apples. Then add the musical texture of crumbly cheddar and sticky-smooth fruit puree.

Quickes Cheddar takes especially well to sweet condiments. Made by Mary Quicke of Devon, England, this farmhouse cheddar has a hint of cigar box. In other words, it's musty. Or, to use the words of writer and cheesemonger Liz Thorpe: "it's cellary."

You can tell that this cheese was wrapped in cloth, larded, and then stored in a damp place. Those earthy notes are what make a cheddar a true "farmhouse cheddar." If you don't like boot-stompin' goodness, you're better off with a different style, a cheddar without the word "bandaged" anywhere near it.

Quickes Cheddar has a caramel-sweetness that I love. It makes me think of eating a caramel-covered apple in a leaf pile. The blend of toffee notes and autumnal leafiness is just lovely. If you eat the apple paste first, the slightly bitter notes of this cheese disappear. And the mustiness gets tamped down.

I found Mitica's Apple Paste at Quince, my neighborhood cheese shop, but you should be able to find it at various gourmet shops or online.
The same company also makes membrillo paste and those glorious rounds of chocolate, wrapped in waxed paper, that are so good for baking. Fresh apples are always a lively companion for cheddar, but when you want to vary the experience...well, a little apple paste on an espresso spoon sparkles it up.


  1. Bandages. Dark cellars. When did cheese become so gothic? Speaking of which, I don't know if you've read Laurie R. King's Mary Russell novels? Turns out that Sherlock Holmes's successor is a cheesehead. She keeps bleu cheese in her sock drawer at Oxford. Somehow, I thought that made her worthy of recommendation to you and your readers.

  2. Curious. Do you suppose it was a bleu cheese sachet? I quite like that idea! Thanks for the reading suggestion -- I'm not familiar with the Mary Russell books. But I will look. Toothsome.

  3. check out "marys dairy diary" written by mrs. quicke herself. she talks exactly how she writes!

  4. Mmm, apple paste sounds delicious. Never seen it, only guava, but I bet I could make something similar if I look hard enough!